Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Aftermath of the Dhaka Trip

We have just come back from our one and a half month stay in our hometown Dhaka and I am still sorely missing my family and my country.

My hubby did not get a long leave from office and he stayed for three weeks only. I stayed on in Dhaka for another three weeks with the kids.When Faisal was in town I was at my inlaws place and when he went away I shifted to my mum's place with the kids.

It was our first trip to Dhaka after coming to Singapore and it was filled with precious moments with family members and friends. There were moments of chaos, (isn't it expected when there are two toddlers to manage?) panic and sadness (there was a death in the family) but on the whole the trip was a good one.

My sister was also in Dhaka from States as it was her spring break and she had a great time with her niece and nephew especially with her niece. Yes, Nayaz kept trying to attract her attention but Bonna, my sis, is more fond of my daughter. She keeps saying that Iba is any day more interesting than Nayaz. My sister and Iba share a love of dancing and together they danced to the tunes of the lates Hindi and bangla songs.Iba also had a lot of fun with my young cousins especially "Saquib Mama".

There were lots of dinner and lunch invitations and I always ended up complaining to mom that I had nothing to wear (like during college days). Sometimes we had to attend both dinner and lunch invitations on the same day.

Even when we shifted to my mum's place, Iba used to visit her "dadi's" place quite often because she enjoys being with her cousins.In my in law's place the tenants also have kids and there are some young servants and so "Iba" was part of a "gang" of kids. I could see what fun she was having just by looking at her face. Even Nayaz was not left out. He relished all the attention he was getting and he came back a changed person (I mean baby). He now wants somebody to interact with him all the time. He started taking his first steps during this trip and we were all excited as he was a late crawler and everybody expected him to be a late walker.

Now that we are back in Singapore I am hit by loneliness because the house suddenly seems quieter. But I am sure that I'll recover from this temporary depression as soon as I settle down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My super-duper weekend

Yes indeed it was a super duper weekend, parents came down to spend some time with us. I am sooooooo happy to see them!! Aaditya gets to spend time with his 'nini' & 'nanadi'...
The prelude to the weekend was great too, I was getting the house in order, organising things that were out of place & stocking up the fridge & groceries. I had plans of making idli-sambar for the saturday breakfast; but they arrived a good 2 hours later than we had anticipated so it was a mad rush to get the sambar finished in time, well the gist of it all is that we finished eating at 12!!
While breakfast was getting ready, Aadi joined mom in un-packing all the goodies they had brought. I got my favourite Shrewsbury biscuits from Pune, Amol got his Bakarwadi, and khari. Not to mention that as the 'jamai' he got some extra gifts. Mom bought some dry-herbs for Aadi, and I must say that they come in handy when the need arises. I will look for the english names for the herbs & then do a separate post on herbs for kids. Thanks to Mom's arrival I am indulging in home made gajar-ka-halwa...yummmmmmm
They had a very tiring & sleepless night so off they went for a nap, I too joined Aadi coz the previous night I was getting up at one hour intervals just to keep a check on the clock & to make sure we don't oversleep after the alarm.
After the naps, we had tea again & chatted away then mom & I headed to the kitchen to make some more food...evening was spent again chatting & entertainment by Aadi who would takie his 'nanadi' into his toy-room & ask for toys that were beyond his reach and the toys that I had put away saying he is too young for them yet. He did some drawing, clay-work. Surprisingly though he threw a sleep-on-the-floor kind of tantrum & I was shocked for words!! We did not pay attention, and he was OK in a short while. But I am really surprised at the way kids can manipulate their behavior according to their surroundings.
Mom & Papa are in Singapore now & will be back tomorrow, so we're looking forward to that.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

An interesting read - French Women Don't Get Fat

In the hectic vacation break, i did manage to read some books and i discovered this one quite by chance in my mother-in-law's collection. Titled "French Women Don't get fat" by Mireille Guiliano, it made me re-commit myself to healthy eating.

The books reads easy and best of all it does not ask us to refrain from anything. Moderation is the mantra and feeling great in your skin is what its all about. It has some easy recipes and talks about the importance of good quality ingredients which makes all the difference when it comes to tasting food and of course very do-able exercises such as walking and climbing stairs. The simplicity of the ideas put forth in the book really appealed to me and i would definitely recommend it to anyone who is trying to tweak their current lives into a healthier life.

You can have a preview of the same on the website

It also appealed to me because her suggestions are not very difficult to implement and some quick fixes to get you started really do work. There are some interesting references to "good dressmakers" in the book and just to deviate from the book, i did get some dresses altered to fit better - and i must say a well tailored dress makes one look and feel so much better - so succumbing to nostalgia - i do miss the shopping for dress materials and the visits to the tailor - good old fashioned ways (i had no idea that i would miss them so much some day) - apologize for taking the liberty of a poetic license.

So all in all what can i say - have a look at the website and if you are impressed as i was, i am pretty sure you will want to read the book.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Short cuts in the kitchen

Ever since my son has started ordering what he wants to eat (well it's just the beginning) I have been doing some simple & quick short cuts in the kitchen. For some reason, he has taken a huge liking for Pasta, and off lately, if someone on TV is eating a chocolate, he goes into a "I want this co-tate" mantra. I hope he gets rid of the 'this' in the sentence but till then let me carry on with this post. I keep a bar of chocolate in the fridge to satisfy him. Also as part of the short cuts, I soak up some moong (whole) and once they puff up nicely, I drain them well & put them in a zip-lock bag for refrigeration. Just like moong, our good old matki, chavli come in handy. I am not fond of dry peas so don't keep them, things like kabuli-chana are best soaked the day before you want to cook them.
I also keep a variety of fruits, as they can be turned into a yummy & filling milk-fruit-shake or even a fruity-yogurt (which Aadi likes a lot). I stock up on strawberries, grapes, mangoes, bananas, apples. I have not made grapes into any shake yet as Aadi is enjoying eating them cut into into small pieces. This is also one of my ways to encourage him to chew.
Before cooking up rice or daal, I soak it in wash & soak it in water, this makes the rice softer & also cooks much faster.
Another thing I do is cook pasta or even Maggie in a pressure cooker, this way it gets ready in no time, plus less water is needed & most importantly it turns out a bit softer too. With this method, I throw in the veggies as well so I end up doing the dish much faster.
Regarding adult food, I make extra curry-paste/masala, when I make a curry, this saves me all the trouble for the next time that curry needs to be made. I also use the same masala/paste to make dry vegetables.
I think in a previous post, I had mentioned about pureeing some vegetables, like broccoli, beet root, and using them in soups. I have bought some beet root & have to make the puree. I do this by simply peeling them, cooking them till soft, you can use a pressure cooker or an open pan for this. After they are cooked & cooled I puree them in a mixer-grinder & pour the puree in ice-cube trays. After the cubes are formed I remove the cubes from the trays & store them in a zip-lock in the deep freezer. You can make purees of most of the vegetables in the same way & use them in the kids food, this way we ensure nutrition & also the kids get used to the tastes of real food.
Simple things make our life easier...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A new start

It was one long vacation and i did enjoy every bit of it. Lots happened over the course of the last two months - taking into account the prologue and the epilogue to the vacation.

Well Mihir celebrated his first birthday, started walking, got his first haircut, got a new pair of shoes, understands a whole new set of words and makes dozens of new sounds, has proved himself to be a real cool traveler and a slightly fussy eater... the list goes on. The best bit in the entire vacation was, without a doubt, spending time with family and friends - that really rejuvenated our spirits - and as usual however long the vacation is, it still felt too short.

Getting back to London meant feeling a pang of loneliness. However this time around i am determined not to let it affect me. For starters, this time around i have resolved to eat healthier - and to that effect i am planning to make some menus and plan meals for a couple of days to get me started and ease my grocery ordering. The other thing i want to do is to get up earlier - starting the day early seems to give me so much time - i hope doing this will help me set aside an hour of "me-time" everyday. I hope to put in atleast two posts every week - it would be nice if Neelum and Malina hold me to this. While this list can go on, i think if i decide to do just one thing and achieve it i will be much happier and this should give me the confidence to take on new things. So here's to a new start.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The first week

I have told you all about our first day at pre-school, this time I'll just feed you on the entire week gone by. All in all it was a good week. He is happy with the school, has learnt some new things.
We as a family are actually seeing the sun rise, also clicking some snaps to capture the sheer beauty of those moments. I for one felt a bit rushed with all the morning routine, waking up at 6, and making sure all breakfasts, lunches are made. But in a way it does save me a lot of time later on in the day. The first day of school I had made suji ka halwa for Aadi, but I don't think that was enough to carry him on till mid-day, well he does drink milk first thing when he wakes up, but still I felt halwa was not enough for him. So day-2 onwards, I made chapati for him for breakfast, and gave it to him with his favourite dal, sambar, moong-sabji, milk even. With this change in breakfast, I saw him coming out of school with still some energy in him, and not cranky with hunger. Also to confirm my deductions, Dr. Oz was on Oprah that day & he stressed the importance of fiber & carbohydrates (whole) in the first meal of the day, and since Aadi is not into corn-flakes or any cereal I think Chapati is the best option for him. For the break time I send one poly-pack of Milo with him along his water bottle, Milo just in case he does not eat his snack at school. But the feedback from the teachers is that he eats a bit of the snack so that is progress for me.
Day-2: The day was good, we decided that we (the parents) would drive him to school, all was good till it was time to enter the school gates, he clung onto me for a while, & asked me to go inside with him. I assured him that I would be back to pick him up & that he has to enjoy the day till then. After this short talk he was fine & went in. When I went to pick him up, he gave me his most beautiful smile, and my day was made.
Day-3: We did not send him, as we thought he needs a break, so he slept till late & had a relaxing day at home.
Day-4: This day, Aadi went alone with Amol, I went to the parking with them & strapped him up, at that point he saw that I was not going, so again he was a bit clingy, but then we made a very excited environment, about he getting to go all alone with his Papa in his car etc. I also gave him the map-book just to make him feel important. At the school, there was no scene, he did a proper good-bye, and threw a flying kiss to his Papa.
Day-5: Today I did not even go to the parking, I said bye to him at the door, he was OK after a second, and said bye cheerfully, again at school Papa got a nice good-bye.

New things learnt: What noise an elephant makes, learnt so say 'naughty boy', learnt to say his full name, says 'i don't know' with a finger on his cheek, and when I ask him what he wants to eat he goes "hmmmmmmmm" into a thinking mode, and then comes up with options.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Another First Day at Pre-school

I am happy to announce, that the much discussed topic of a pre-school for my son has finally found itself a solution. I finalised on Taska Jaunty Montessori, along Jalan Ara.
This is not 'the perfect' one, but it did fulfill a lot of the criteria that i had laid down. A major issue still haunting us is transportation. At times I wonder if I did the right thing by starting school without a proper transportation, although for the time being good old uncle Sebastien is taking us to & fro, but I know in the long run it will be too expensive & tiring for me as well as I dare not send Aadi alone in a taxi!! OK never mind, something will work out!!
Today we woke up real early (now 6 am is real early!!) I frantically made lunches, breakfasts, milk, tea the works....we woke Aadi at 7, as we had to leave by 8:30 to be in time for the 9 o clock school. All things worked out well, Aadi also did his 'big job' at home, although I was slightly worried if he will as his sleep pattern was changed. We set off as soon as uncle let us know he was down. So after a hurried prayer at the alter we were off. Upon reaching school, Aadi strayed off while I went to see the Principal Ms. Kim, payed off the fees etc. Later I stayed on the full time with Aadi, staying around him, giving him instructions & telling him how he has to come on his own & that Mumma will not be there tomorrow etc. I also made him familiar to the things there, I feel it will help him to trust the teachers & the entire environment better if I talk to him about it all our way. Today he had some Montessori time, followed by Bahasa class, then was play & snack time. After that again it was time for Circle Time. Aadi liked the school generally, & was exploring it fully. Although he did not eat his snack, he is not that used to eating on his own, although since the past 2 months he has become independent with things like cheese, bread, cake etc. But today in school he was reluctant to eat, so I fed him & also explained to him that if he did not eat on his own he will go hungry!!
School ended with Aadi feeling exhausted, he fell asleep on the way back home, but woke up as soon as I put him on the bed to sleep!! in a way it was good as he could then have his lunch on time. I feel we both had a good time at school. I just hope that he settles down without me around. The school duration is 3.5 hours & he was used to only 2 hours so he has to get used to that as well. I can only wish for the best for him & at the end of the day I want him to be happy.
Love u Aada, All the best !!

Friday, January 11, 2008

32 minus 1

We all have the number 32 in common... guess what it refers to...teeth...right..and me I am 32 minus 1 since yesterday. It began last week when a piece of my tooth fell off & I had stinging pain every time I drank something hot, so off we went yesterday to a dentist. He is located near Taman Sri Sentosa, and we were given only driving directions to his place (which turned out to be very accurate). Before leaving home I was a bit nervous as it was my first visit to a dentist since school; and I declared to Amol that if the doctor suggested removal of my tooth I would walk out, another reason for a walk out would be if I was not comfortable with the doctor.

Well Dr. Sarat Dutta (he's a Malaysian born Bengali Babu) put me at ease right away. In fact as we sat awaiting our turn, he came out & spoke to us in hindi & told us that he would like to finish off the current patients & then give us all his time. I liked him, he looked experience & he did not seem like the doctor who would tell me that I have to part with my pearls..I must also tell you that all along the final scenes of 'Finding Nemo' were re-playing in my head, the screaming girl, the whizzing noise, the chaos!!

Well soon we were inside his surgery room, he made me sit on the huge chair, and then asked me why I was there; I told him about the chipped tooth, & the pain & did not forget to add that it was my first visit to a dentist, to this he actually declared that we needed a photo for this momentous day!! much to the amusement of his assistants & my hubby !!
He took his camera wand & showed me all my pearls on the TV over my head, I saw that my wisdom tooth (on the upper left side) was the one that had chipped & it had a good amount of decay, the tooth next to it had a cavity; but the rest of them were perfect :)
So I was given my treatment options of doing a filling for both, or then removing the wisdom tooth since the tooth had decayed quite a bit & the filling would stay for a year at the most & then the only option would be to remove it. Yes he suggested removal !!! by then I should have rushed out of his room but NOOOO I hung on & did some more questioning. Finally I decided that what I have to do in a years time, I might as well do it today as it is it had decayed so there I actually agreed to removal of my wisdom tooth !! Amol was staring at me with amazement.
Then began the procedure, first he did the filling for the cavity then he gave me some local anesthesia for the removal, then the digging & tugging began, my tooth was not giving the doctor an easy time, it was fighting for dear life..poor thing!! It took some 15 minutes to finally get the little fellow out, & I was surprised to see that it was actually a huge thing I mean the roots etc..
I did not feel a thing, and was given some antibiotics, pain killers, anti-swelling medication & sent home. I had a funny feeling as the anesthesia wore off & then decided to head home instead of the earlier plan of going to Mid Valley for groceries. I slept off most of the day, & evening we went to Anjjapaar in Bangsar for a simple meal of Dosa, Uttapa & Idli.
The day was quite eventful for me, now one day later I must tell you my truest feelings...I miss my tooth & am sad to be 32 minus 1.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Time spent well

Time spent well
One of the reasons for taking up this house was that a couple who are our pals stay close by. Praveen and I were colleagues when I was working with Marcus Evans, his wife Amisha is from Mumbai so we have an entire country in common to talk about!!
Over weekends we spend time together when we can, since both of them work, we can't meet on week days, so it is a good thing when ever we can meet up. They are a couple who are very health conscious & exercise regularly & most importantly watch what they eat; this means we have a lot to learn from them as Amol & I have none of those attributes.
We meet over lunch, and we share the load of cooking so that we can actually enjoy the meal & not feel tired after slogging it in the kitchen!! We watch bits n pieces of movies somehow I don't recall watching an entire movie with them !! We exchange movie CDs, gossip about the stars, talk about almost everything under the sun..
Aadi is also growing fond of them, though he has struck it off with Praveen from day 1 with his demand for Cars movie..earlier he used to call it "pitchie-car" now it has become shorter to "p-car".
I like spending time with friends, just hanging out, without any agenda. It feels good to know that there is some one who cares, & is there for you in your hour of need. I equate spending time with friends with investing, coz like investments your friendship depends on the time you give your friends & also the little space in your mind & heart for them. That's why I say that all the time spent with friends is a time spent well.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Recovering from a cold

On 31st December, I was to attend a last minute dinner with hubby's office people...with no time on hand, I made a dash to the bathroom & washed my hair then laboriously combed plenty of conditioner into them. Mind you all this was taking place at 7:30 pm!! The result was a bad cold on the morning of the first day of the new year ... I suffer from Sinusitis, so usually never catch a cold, the last time I had a cold was almost 3 years back!!
Thus my new year began with plenty of "aaachoo" & "snif-snif" and of course good old tissue (where would we be without tissue paper in our life...good idea for another post!!). During the nest 4 days I had a good flowing nose, and with plenty of Vitamin C in the form of orange juice, lemon pickle, and some good cups of tea & coffee and yes I must share this with you: eating boiled eggs gives immense relief to our sneezing soul, I thought everyone ate eggs when they had a cold but few friends I spoke to did not know it...
So with all the 'good-for-cold' stuff going into my system, I thought my cold was done with. But No....the cold does not want to leave me so soon...After the fourth day, the nose stopped flowing, the headache worsened & every part above my neck hurt as though some one is hammering a nail into it!! So finally this Saturday I made way to the Doctor, she is a nice lady, smiles a lot, cracks a joke, listens to you, and is in no hurry to give you a sackful of tablets; she sits at the Clinic Ashvini along Jalan Telawi, near Berry's cake shop quite close to Bangsar Village.
Since Saturday I am on a flu pill & an antibiotic, she's also given me menthol crystals to use when I take a steam...problem is I hate taking steams...they suffocate me. I am still struggling to meet demands of my normal life like giving time to my son, making lunch for hubby.....I hope I feel better soon as I hate being sick !!
Plan to make some piping hot pepper-infused soup for that should make me feel better !!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Happy New Year to all !!

This year I have decided to not make any resolutions because they seem to never get done. So instead I have planned to keep it very simple.

Love what ever you do...and most importantly: Do ONLY what you love !!

Simple enough, right?
It is actually a very deep & well thought of well...thought, over the years I have realised that we spend our time in doing things as chores and not really participating in that event be it cleaning the house, cooking or laundry...but I must admit one thing, all things related to my bundle of joy are done with a lot of attention & involvement (Thank God for this) otherwise I would be a not-there kind of mom...which I absolutely detest.
We also do things like spending time with people who we don't really like but have to spend time with them as they may be our work associates or your neighbour. I mean the point is to spend time with people who inspire you in little or big ways, who make you feel good & create feelings that you want to grow & lead a better life.

I have also decided to love my home, and make it a reflection of who I am and what we are as a family. That does not mean I am going to call an interior designer and get it done but rather I am going to spend time making it a place where I love to be.